About the Artists: info still coming in! Check back often.
Venita Ashford Allen is a native of Durham, N.C. and founding member of the Chuck Davis, African American Dance Ensemble (AADE). She began her studies of dance through the ADF community outreach program under the direction of Abdel Salaam, Nafisa Shariff and Baba Chuck Davis (Chuck Davis Dance Co). She is an ADF alumnus and one of many recipients of an ADF scholarship. While training/performing with AADE, there were so many other hidden talents she managed to cultivate such as songwriting, becoming a playwright, and much more. I believe that if you smile the world may just smile back.
renay aumiller dances
RAD | Renay Aumiller Dances has gained a strong and steady national and international presence with their thought-provoking performances displaying keen wit and fluid physicality. Founded in 2012, the North Carolina project-based and is comprised of professional dancers from the area known for their technical and creative capacities. Their concert dance performances have been presented in eleven national and over 25 regional festials, including five self-produced performances in traditional and alternative venues. RAD’s recent three dance film collaborations with Greensboro’s Terranova Dance Theater has gained international presence in Sweden, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. http:radances.com
Photo credit: Michael Rank
Alyah Baker has performed with classical, contemporary, and social dance companies including Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Oakland Ballet, ABD Productions, and Dance Through Time. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she majored in Sociology with a Dance Minor. While at Duke, she trained with former Joffrey Ballet principal Tyler Walters and Clay Taliaferro, a long-time principal dancer with José Limón Dance Co., among others. Throughout her career, she has been featured in works by Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Laura Dean, José Limón, and Alonzo King. Currently, Alyah is a candidate for Duke University’s MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis, researching Black Queer Fem(me)inist aesthetics in practice and performance. She is also a freelance performer and educator, offering her signature series Ballet for Black and Brown Bodies in studios around the US.
Anna Barker is a choreographer and performer based in Durham, North Carolina. After spending 10 years dancing in Philadelphia and New York City, Anna relocated back to her hometown and founded her dance theater company “real.live.people” with collaborator Leah Wilks. Since then, Anna has created and produced three evening-length works in Durham: “it’s not me it’s you” in 2014, “Feature Presentation” in 2016 and “Again, but this time with feeling” in 2018. Anna is the recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council’s Fellowship for 2018-2019, as well as the Durham Arts Council’s Emerging Artist Award for 2018. Anna has presented work as part of the American Dance Festival, Duke Performances, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, APAP NYC, The North Carolina Dance Festival, WAXworks at Triskelion Arts (Brooklyn), and at Elsewhere Collaborative, The Haw River Ballroom, The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, the Durham Arts Council, the Carrboro ArtsCenter, The Living Arts Collective, Dance New Amsterdam (Manhattan), and the New York Film School (Manhattan). Anna recently choreographed a film under the direction of Cynthia Hill for Planned Parenthood. Anna is a freelance choreographer and movement consultant, and teaches Pilates locally at Bull City Pilates and Massage and at Ninth Street Dance.
“Level Up”, her first dance-theater film, premieres in 2020.
Photo credit: Stephanie Leathers
big red dance project
Gerri Houlihan began her professional training at the Juilliard School, studying with Antony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino, and members of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance companies. She performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company and spent five years as a soloist with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Houlihan has taught or choreographed for such institutions as N. Y.’s High School of the Performing Arts, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, the Bates Dance Festival, the Boston Ballet, the Harvard Summer Dance Center, Meredith College, the University of South Florida, North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Richmond, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and Virginia Commonwealth University. From 1984-1987 she directed her own school and company, the Boston Dance Project. She was one of five finalists in the Boston Ballet’s International Choreography Competition. From 1988-1999, Ms. Houlihan was on the faculty of New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. During that time, she was also the artistic director of Houlihan and Dancers. The recipient of two Florida Individual Artist Fellowships in Dance/Choreography in 1991-92 and 1996-97, Houlihan and Dancers was on the touring roster for the state of Florida. She is on the advisory board for the American Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association. Ms. Houlihan has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival from 1981-1983, and from 1987 to the present. As an international representative for ADF she has participated in eighteen international linkages, teaching in Korea, China, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Estonia, Poland, the Philippines, Moscow and Mongolia. She is the 2005 recipient of the Balasaraswati Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching from ADF, and a 2012 recipient of the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching Award from Florida State University. She received her MFA degree in 2007 from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival MFA program.
For five decades, Glenna Batson has honed an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of embodiment, bridging between dance, science, phenomenology and somatic studies. A member of the Big Red Dance Project since early 2019, Glenna continues her life in dance as educator and author, as well as researcher for Parkinson’s and dance. Adjunct faculty for the Duke Dance Program, Glenna teaches Somatics: Embodiment for the 21st Century.
Rebecca Bliss holds a BFA in Dance from Florida State University, where she first met Gerri Houlihan. Upon graduating, she moved to New York City where she performed with choreographers such as Marjani Forte. In 2018, she moved to Durham where she was excited to be reconnected to Gerri. She joined the Big Red Dance Project is the fall of 2019. Rebecca also works locally as a physical therapist and teaches dance with ADF’s Parkinson’s Movement Initiative.
Andrea Didisheim moved to this area from Princeton, NJ, in 2018. She was thrilled to reconnect with Gerri Houlihan, who was a teacher of hers when she was a student at ADF 35 years ago. She has been dancing with the Big Red Dance Project since last fall and is so happy to be a part of this amazing group of dancers. She received a BA in Dance from Connecticut College and an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her career and background has been in Physical Therapy, as an EMT, as a fitness trainer for seniors, and as a Pilates and Yoga instructor.
Sue Hill began dancing under the direction of Helena Baron, Brunhilda Ruiz and Paul Sutherland. She is a graduate of Purchase College, danced with the Baron Ballet, Purchase Dance Corps, Busch Gardens, Anonymity Dance Company, City Ballet Raleigh and has loved dancing with the Big Red Dance Project since its inception in 2018. Sue is a devoted dance educator starting her 25th year with the Wake County Public School System.
Big Red Dance Project
We carry our history and our geography in our bodies. The Big Red Dance Project is an organization that encourages adults to create and perform their personal histories through dance. Grounded in the classical modern dance traditions of director Gerri Houlihan, the group seeks to develop community, expand the notions of who can dance in our current society, and enhance the vibrant arts scene in the Triangle area of North Carolina. With dancers from the ages of 35 to 79, the group includes a neuroscientist, a former box office manager for the American Dance Festival, a visual artist and several current and retired dance educators.
Stacy Wolfson (Artistic director) is a dancer, choreographer, singer, Pilates teacher, and mother of two little girls. Originally from Virginia, she spent a decade in Chicago working collaboratively with The Space Movement Project, a company she co-founded in 2005. Upon moving to NC, Wolfson began working closely with banjo-player Curtis Eller and subsequently formed The Bipeds in late 2015. Her work with The Bipeds has been performed across NC, IL, VA, and NY. Their dance films have been screened in various venues across the US and the UK. Wolfson is also a singer with Eller’s rock & roll band, The American Circus. Aside from creating and performing, you can find her at Bull City Pilates and Massage, a studio she co-owns with her husband.
Curtis Eller (Music director) is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer. A twenty-year show business veteran, Eller and his band The American Circus have developed a devoted international following based on dynamic, highly physical stage performances and an extensive catalog of curious phonographic recordings. The iconoclastic musician has spent more than a decade relentlessly touring the club, theatre and festival stages of a dozen countries in North America and Europe.Eller is a gifted and prolific songwriter who’s banjo-driven songs describe a dreamlike vision of American history where all points in time have collapsed into one. Eller’s collaboration with Wolfson and The Bipeds marks an exciting new direction for a performer who has long embraced movement as a vital expressive tool. The unique musical and choreographic requirements of the project have sparked a renewed focus for the seasoned composer and lyricist.
Photo credit: Zoe Litaker
black box dance theatre
Black Box Dance Theatre was formed in 2013 from a group of artists with mutual respect and attraction to each others dancing, artistry, professionalism, and desire to make meaningful work of the highest quality. Black Box Dancers are committed to our craft, to pushing ourselves physically, technically, artistically, and advancing the expectations and outcomes of modern dance today.
Performers: Aflredo Hurtado, Adelle Johnson, Laura Montgomery, Karen Warr
Britany Burch is a member of the African American Dance Ensemble and a native of Durham, NC. Her Dancing and Community service roots were inspired by her Lifetime Mentor, Baba Chuck Davis , The Chuck Davis Dance Company, and The African American Dance Ensemble. She attended ADF in the summer of 2016. Ms. Burch has studied dance for 20+ years and is the Founder of #GetActive Youth Initiative, a non profit organization that pushes the importance of Fitness and Personal enhancement to youth and young adults ages 11- 19.
Ivy Burch, a Durham native, is a choreographer, instructor and ENERGETIC dancer. She began her dance career as a six week student at ADF and a professional dance career as a founding member of The Chuck Davis African- American Dance Ensemble (AADE). During her years with the company, Ivy has toured with various companies and premiered in a number of ADF commissioned works created by renowned dance pioneers, such as Baba Chuck Davis, “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Donald Mckayles’ “GAMES” and Ronald K. Browns’ “FREE” to name a few. She is currently the co-African dance instructor for the Hayti Heritage Center, Durham NC. She gives GOD THANKS for her gifts and the AWESOME opportunities! She is committed to continued learning and sharing the rich heritage and culture from the African Diaspora.
Carol Weisberg Burgess has been a working artist for many years. She teaches drawing and painting to children and adults, with an emphasis on the senior population while continuing her own personal pursuit to paint and create.
Carol has always enjoyed working with people and loves it when a student discovers he or she can be creative and draw and paint. In her personal work, Carol enjoys the freedom she has to paint how she feels about what is going on in her life. Sometimes her work is very abstract and other times it shows up as representative of her surroundings.
For the past sixteen years Carol has concentrated her attention to dancers in motion. Thanks to her daughters’ love of Dance, she has spent many hours watching and painting dancers in classes, as artist in residence, at the American Dance Festival, and the Carolina Ballet, resulting in numerous works including sketches, water colors and oil paintings.
Carol spends a great deal of time in the mountains at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. She has found the mountain environment generates creativity that is difficult to find elsewhere resulting in new works with unexpected results.
Carol holds a degree in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Virginia. She has exhibited her work professionally in juried shows in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. These shows include ten solo exhibitions, and numerous group shows. Notably, she created the 2017 Poster for the American Dance Festival, and in past years tee shirt designs for ADF. Carol has also designed tee shirts for the Murdoch Arts Festival in Creedmoor, NC, for more than twenty-five years.
Carol is a native of Virginia, but has called Raleigh home since 1983.
To view Carols’ work; www.carolweisbergburgess.com
Bio coming soon!
toya j chinfloo
amanda l. edwards
Amanda Edwards is a freelance artist, choreographer, and poet. Originally from Mount Vernon, NY, she began her dance training at The Dance Theatre of Harlem School. Amanda received her BFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with honors in May 2015. Most recently Amanda has presented work at APAP 2019 with Booking Dance Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Queens Dance Film Festival 2019, Qinfolk 2019, and in Under Exposed 2020 presented by Dixon Place. Amanda has danced with companies such as Lela Aisha Jones | Flyground, Putty Dance Project, Dancespora, KCBC, and Jo-Me’ Dance. She has also worked with choreographers Michael Mao, and Ani Malaya. She is a recent recipient of the NEA Artworks Grant in collaboration with Nyugen Smith via The Wassaic Project. Currently Amanda is pursuing her MFA in Dance & Graduate Certificate in African & African American Studies at Duke University in Durham, NC.
Photo credit: TP Photography
murielle elizéon & Tommy Noonan/culture mill
Tommy Noonan and Murielle Elizéon are directors, choreographers, and performers currently based in Saxapahaw, NC. Both their individual and collaborative work has been presented extensively throughout Germany, France, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Finland, and Mexico. Most recently,Tommy Noonan’s solo “John” was presented at the American Dance Festival and Murielle Elizéon choreographed the duet “Je suis belle,” comissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Art and co-created with Tommy.
They regularly teach movement and dance both internationally and locally, and are co-directors of Culture Mill, a performing arts laboratory based in Saxapahaw, NC dedicated to fostering creative community and collaboration through artist residencies, educational outreach and original artistic projects. More on Culture Mill at www.culturemill.org
Gaspard Louis is the Founder and Artistic Director of Gaspard&Dancers (G&D). He received a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and continued his dance studies on scholarship at Gus Giordano’s in Chicago and Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York. Following his studies, he joined the New York based company called AllNations where he performed traditional dances from many parts of the world for US troupes across the globe. Subsequently, he performed and traveled worldwide with Pilobolus Dance Theater. He collaborated on the choreography of nine major dance works with the company and taught master dance classes both nationally and internationally. Gaspard received an MFA in Dance from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival Program and became the Director of ADF’s year-round creative movement outreach program which provides free dance classes to youth in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill community of North Carolina. His passion for dance has continued to lead him to work with local dancers and musicians. Additionally, Gaspard has been a guest teacher at Duke, Elon, North Carolina Central Universities and University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).
Toni K. Hall is a founding member of The African American Dance Ensemble; co-founder of SA-TO’s Dance Academy, and the Artistic Director of Collage Dance Company. Ms. Hall began her professional career with Baba Chuck Davis through the American Dance Festival’s Outreach program and has performed at the American Dance Festival in Durham and other festivals locally and nationally with The African Dance Ensemble.
Sakarah Hall-Edge, a Durham native is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. She began her training at age 5 in traditional West African dance styles; spent 10 years as a student at the American Dance Festival where she received further training in other styles including hip-hop, ballet, modern, jazz and performed in multiple works by faculty and guest artists. She attended Durham School of the Arts in secondary school and went on to attend Virginia Commonwealth University where she majored in Dance and Choreography. She toured with The Clothesline Muse from 2015-2017 and performed alongside Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE as apart of their performances for the American Dance Festival’s 85th Season. She’s gained further training in commercial and industry dance through various workshops and intensives. Currently she is still performing, teaching and setting works.
Tony Johnson has performed in and choreographed over 300 dances. The piece you will see this evening titled: “Hidden Faces on The Streets” is his final work in Durham. He has danced in works with renowned choreographers Clay Taliaferro, Chuck Davis, Anna Halprin, Hedi Latsky and others. Over 30 years he has been a participant in the American Dance Festival and is a long time friend of the Duke Dance Program. He is currently employed at the American Dance Festival, and loves the energy the organization brings to him and the surrounding community. In 2014 Tony was a featured guest in the Triangle Dance Festival for AIDS, and also selected to present a talk focusing on his project “Embodying History Through Movement” for the Dancing the African American Disapora Conference at Duke University. In 2016 he again attended the Dancing the African Disapora Conference where he led a movement workshop as a part of the “Embodying History Through Movement Project”. He has been featured in many newspapers and has engaged in many interviews focusing on his work and on his own journey of faith, spirituality, and community. He recently was invited to speak on the State of Things sharing his story as a gay man of faith as part of Out of the Shadows Conference. In December he will be relocating to Washington DC to fulfill his mission and ministry “ My Neighbor” focusing on building relationships with the poor, the homeless community, and people living marginal lives.
Amari Jones is originally from Raleigh, NC and received her Bachelor of Arts in dance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a minor in Entrepreneurship. She is currently attending Duke University for graduate school in the Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis MFA Program. She has been in choreographic works by Mari Meade, Clarice Young, Robert Glosnell and Marcus White. Amari was a researcher and presenter at the Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo in 2019 where she presented her dance film “In One Dark Body”. She also had the honor of presenting her dance film “Labor Day” at the Conference for African American and African Diasporic Cultures and at an Evening With the Creative Class hosted by Duane Cyrus at UNCG.
Alexandra Joye Warren is the Founding Artistic Director of JOYEMOVEMENT. Launched in 2014, JOYEMOVEMENT is a contemporary dance company that has performed regionally and toured nationally at many colleges, universities, festivals and conferences, including Opening Night of American Dance Festival in 2017 and at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in collaboration with activist Bree Newsome.
A native of the Washington, D.C. Metro area, Alexandra received her BA from Spelman College and MFA from UNC Greensboro. She performed, choreographed and taught in New York, finding a company home with Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT. Alexandra has been fortunate to study at Germaine Acogny’s Jant-Bi at L’Ecole Des Sables in Senegal, performed with Bill T. Jones in development of FELA! the Musical, Paloma and Patricia McGregor’s Angela’s Pulse, Maxine Montilus, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Van Dyke Dance Group, and Amy Love Beasley.
Alexandra has presented her choreography as scholarly research at the Collegium of African Diaspora Dance Conference at Duke University in 2020 and at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in San Francisco, CA in 2021. She is a recipient of the 2019 Arts Greensboro, Regional Arts Grant. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Elon University.
Photo credit: Carolyn de Berry
rama sundaresan kapadia
Ramya S. Kapadia is a Durham-based Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor and a Carnatic vocalist (South Indian classical dance & music forms). Ramya believes that art can and should tell stories that move audiences to becoming better and more compassionate human beings. The collaborators in her works are artists, scientists, literary scholars and philosophers who all share her vision of creating a better world through art. She is grateful to her many mentors for providing her with rich and varied experiences in the arts and is absolutely thrilled to be a part of ADF’s community healing parade.
Photo credit: Sivaram Kaushik
Established in 1987, killianmanning/noforwardingaddress is a performance company of movers dedicated to realizing the multi-disciplinary work of Artistic Director/Choreographer Killian Manning. Her award-winning choreography has been seen all over the US, and she teaches contemporary dance at the Ballet School of Chapel Hill and Three House Studios. https://www.facebook.com/killianmanningNFA
George Barrett, Christina Conley, Mary Chandler Gwinn
Kristin Taylor Duncan is a Durham native with a BFA from the UNC School of the Arts. She has trained at Jacob’s Pillow and on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studios. Kristin has apprenticed with Urban Bush Women, and worked with choreographers Nathan Trice, Bridget Moore, Christal Brown and Sidra Bell, Andrea Woods Valdez, Helen Simoneau, Tania Perez-Salas Compania de Danza, Juel Lane, Gaspard Louis and Yuxtadanza Compania de Danza of Venezuela. Kristin has worked with Dr. Kariamu Welsh and Jazz Vocalist Nnenna Freelon as a dancer for the ClothesLine Muse.
Mrs. Duncan is a recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant producing her first concert for her company KT COLLECTIVE. She has been commissioned to create works by Helen Simoneau, NC Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum, NC Museum of History and Myra Weiss. Kristin has performed in Approximation of a Woman produced by Jasmine Powell. Ms. Powell also invited Kristin to perform in the “Problem PSA” by vocalist and philanthropist Kwanza Jones. Recently, Kristin was invited to participate in the 60 Second Video Challenge Commissioned by American Dance Festival, creating the film, “The Silence of Mourning”.
Mrs. Duncan is the Dance Educator at Riverside High School as well as teaches in the programs of Encore Academy of Dance, Ballet School of Chapel Hill and Walltown Children’s Theatre. She is invited to work with many aspiring professional dancers throughout the Triangle and Triad.
Darian has a bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance and Education at University of The Arts in Philadelphia. After Darian’s post undergrad career he worked with several companies and independent artist such artist as Zane Booker (2007-2008), Contempra Dance Theater Company of Philadelphia, PA (2007). He has performed as guest artist with DC Contemporary Dance Theater (2011-2013). Darian has taught and danced all along the eastern coast of the states and continues to gain new influences with his own movement and artistry.
Jackie Bennett is a native of Durham, NC. She majored in Social Work and Minored in Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, obtained her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently working towards her MFA in Dance at Hollins University. Jackie began dancing with KT Collective in 2017. She has also performed locally with other companies such as No Forwarding Address and Raina Lucas Dance Company and Lab. Jackie has enjoyed performing in shows such as the Black Nativity and presenting her own work at the Greensboro Fringe Festival. Jackie enjoys and continues to look forward to working and growing with KT Collective.
Photo credit: Bill Russ
Nicole Lawson, Artistic Director of Nicole Lawson Dance Projects, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and activist working in the Piedmont Triad community of North Carolina. As a choreographer, her work investigates the pathways between injustice and hope.
Prior to launching NLDP in January 2018, Nicole was selected as a part of the first class of Artists in Residence with the Greensboro Dance Project. Through this program, Nicole produced the company’s first show, “I am not a Monster.” in November 2018 at the Greensboro Project Space. In 2019, Nicole and collaborator, Dylan Reddish, teamed up to produce “Love Notes from the Skeleton in my Closet.” The show premiered in August 2019 through the GreenHill Opens program at the GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art. Most recently, Nicole was selected as a member of the Tobacco Road Dance Productions 2020 concert. Through the residency, she is working the first phase of her latest project, (Un)Civilized Nation.
Previously, Nicole’s work has been presented Stokes County Arts Council, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and Emergence in Durham, NC. As a performer, Nicole has danced with Alex Warren and JOYEMOVEMENT Dance Company, Renay Aumiller Dances, the Carol Finley Dance Group, Kate Davis and the Continuum Collective, and other choreographers including Kristin Sudeikis, Beth Gill, Elizabeth Corbett, and Boby Ari Setiawan.
Nicole is a graduate of Meredith College where she received Bachelor of Arts with majors in Dance Studies and Spanish. Nicole is currently a Dance and Spanish educator at the North Carolina Leadership Academy.
Masha Dashkina Maddux is a professional concert dance performer and a dance educator. A native of Kiev, Ukraine she was first introduced to dance through the classical Vaganova ballet technique. After moving to the United States she studied at the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet of Miami, FL and ultimately graduated summa cum laude with her BFA from New World School of the Arts. Ms.Maddux joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2007 and rose to the rank of the principal dancer, performing major roles in classical Graham repertoire along with works created by some of the most influential contemporary choreographers.Ms.Maddux was featured in Dance Magazine’s “Dancer’s Choice”, and also appeared in projects including the feature film Fall to Rise, and in a Martha Graham Dance Technique Beginning Level instructional video. In addition to performing, she has collaborated with photographers to capture the art of dance. Most recently her images were selected for the cover of the Dior Magazine issue #26 and The Art of Movement.
Ms.Madux is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Wake Forest Dance Festival based in the Town of Wake Forest, NC. The Festival is a free and open to the public day of dance which features national and regional professional dancers along with local rising advanced dance performers.
Ms.Maddux is an ambassador for the Dancing Angels Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that provides scholarships to help passionate and committed young dancers fulfill their dreams. Ms.Maddux is one of the founding members of Movement Migration, a dance collective based in Charlotte, NC. In the summer of 2018 she was the recipient of the Alto Jonio Best Dancer Award in Calabria, Italy. Ms.Maddux is honored to have had the opportunity to join the ADF faculty during the summer of 2019 to co-stage a work created by Martha Graham.
Diana Hoffmaster was born in West Palm Beach Florida and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida in Dance Performance and her Master’s of Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University in Arts Administration. She was the co-founder of The Dancers’ Space in West Palm Beach Florida, the Grants Manager for the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and the Director of Grants and Development Operations for the American Dance Festival. She is currently a free-lance grant writer and project manager for several non-profits from New York to Florida. Working towards her passion to provide performing arts opportunities for her community, she serves as the Board Chair for the Cultural and Resource Advisory Committee for the Town of Wake Forest and since its inaugural season has assisted with the Wake Forest Dance Festival in programming and fundraising. Diana has choreographed many works that have been performed across Florida, continues to teach modern dance, and looks forward to creating works in Wake Forest.
laci mcdonald and students from durham academy
Laci McDonald, Dance Director/Choreographer, has been teaching at Durham Academy since 2009. Laci also works as a 12th Grade Lead-Class Advisor and the Special Olympics Coordinator for Durham Academy. In addition, Laci is a partner at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill, where she teaches Contemporary Jazz and helps coordinate summer programming and camps. Laci started dancing in Boca Raton, Florida at the age of three, before relocating to the Raleigh area in 1991. She continued to further her ballet, tap and jazz techniques through local workshops and studios until moving to Greenville, NC to study at East Carolina University. She graduated Suma Cum Laude from ECU with a BFA in Dance Performance (Jazz) and a BSBA in Business Management in 2007. Still interested in small business management, Laci earned her MBA from East Carolina University in 2012. Laci has enjoyed many summers as a DPW participant at ADF, where she gained strength and energy from sharing dance spaces with her fellow educators. A life-long learner, Laci is inspired daily by the students she teaches. However, her most important roles are being a wife to husband Justin, and mother to her son, Everett and her daughter, Lennox. Photo credit: Eliza Burgess
anthony “ay-jay” nelson jr.
Anthony “Ay-Jaye” Nelson found dance as a young teenager, falling in love with the freedom of expression that movement allowed. Dancing in earnest from fifteen years on, Nelson’s career has led him to seek training in a variety of styles, building his repertoire in Contemporary, Modern, Hip-Hop and Jazz, and refining his focus in a personal style that blends these traditions. Over the past decade, Nelson has performed with renowned choreographers in the Triangle and beyond, gravitating toward emotionally charged work and contemporary pieces with a social conscience and goal of bringing movement to a broad and diverse audience. Nelson’s belief in the power of dance to change lives and the world has led him to the classroom to share the gift of movement with students of all ages and backgrounds. https://www.
Alyssa Noble is a modern dancer, community organizer, and digital media specialist from Chicago, Illinois. She earned her BFA in Dance and her MS in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has been a Durham resident since 2011.
Alyssa co-organizes Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA), an organization that works to advocate for the local dance community and connect its members to resources. As a member of DIDA, Alyssa has helped program and support four seasons of independent dance performances and events in Durham.
Since 2016, Alyssa has been creating and performing work with A+A Dance Company, which she co-founded with Allie Pfeffer. Alyssa has also performed locally in dance and performance art works by Leah Wilks/Vector, Anna Barker/real.live.people, Monet Noelle Marshall, and Meg Stein.
Alyssa’s overarching artistic practice goals are to prioritize work that supports independent artist viability and to engage audiences in critical thinking around dance. Alyssa aims to create and participate in projects that initiate and continue important societal conversations, to increase inclusivity and accessibility levels of all of the projects that she is involved in, and to create and share resources as broadly as possible with other independent artists.
Learn more about what Alyssa is up to at www.alyssanobledance.com or by following her @ascho3 on Instagram!
Photo credit: Jillian Clark
Photo credit: Anna Maynard.
Kenzi Presswood have been learning and playing Djembe and Dunduns for 15+ years. Kenzi attributes his love and hands on experience to his mom who danced with him and his siblings in the womb, because of this it didn’t take long for him to become hands on in the culture. At 5 years old, he started his journey to become a Djembefola. He also give Thanks and Credit to his mentor’s past and present for continuing to instill in him Love and Respect for the West African drum and dance culture and family values: (Hashim Saleh, Kenny James, Mohamed DaCosta, and Allen Boyd). He continues to study, live, and love the art; while passing its discipline, dedication, and meditation to the next generation of Fola´s.
Megan Rindoks started dancing at the age of 4 in a dance studio that lived above a fire station in Davidson, North Carolina. In her high school years she was a ballet student in the pre-professional division at North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet). Megan attended Hollins University where she double majored in Dance and Communication Studies. While in college, she spent most summers in Durham, NC working and dancing at the American Dance Festival. Megan is now happy to call Durham home, and has danced here professionally for the past 5 years. She is also proud to work as the Community Engagement Manager at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
Bashir Shakur is a percussionist, composer, performer, educator, and recording artist whose unique blend of improvisational, and traditional percussion can be found on his latest release entitled “Visible”, with acclaimed Zimbabwean dancer and singer Nora Chipoumare. In addition to his work with Nora, Bashir has recorded, performed, and/or toured with an array of diverse artists including: Chuck Davis, Camille Yarborough (foremother of Rap), DJ Grandmaster Flash, Michael Wimberly, Waley Reyes Jr. (drummer for Santana) and countless others. Shakur has been an artist-in-residence and or faculty member at many Institution’s including but not limited to: New York University Steinhart School of Education, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Guilford College, American Dance Festival, and others. Mr. Shakur would like to thank Allah for all his many gifts and blessings.
shaleigh dance works
ShaLeigh Comerford (Founder/Artistic Director) is an Irish & Native American choreographer, performer, educator, advocate, and the artistic director of ShaLeigh Dance Works, a dance-theatre company based in Durham, NC and founded in 2005. Her work centers the human experience of “othered” bodies in direct conversation with its environment, history, culture, and forces of erasure. She believes in an approach to art that democratizes process and performance through autonomy and agency. Her work is driven by a desire to uplift powerful stories and voices that address the human condition in relation to political, cultural, and societal oppression and inequalities. Her work stresses human connection and our instinctive human need to connect regardless of race, class, age, ability, or gender. Her engagement practices are an integral part of her work and include partnerships with The Reality Center and Arts Access to provide advocacy, opportunities, and access to the arts for people of all abilities.
She is a graduate of Hollins University with a Master’s degree in Visual and Performing Arts. She began her formal dance training on scholarship with the Roanoke Ballet Theatre and the American Dance Festival and continued her training in NYC and at P.A.R.T.S in Brussels, Belgium. In 2011, she was personally invited to train in the Gaga movement language with Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel for their inaugural teacher training program.
Jam Niel Delgado Castro (Company Member) Delgado Castro was born in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. He started dancing at the age of sixteen. In 2010, he began training at the School of the Arts in Trujillo Alto where he was quickly offered a position with the company as well as an invitation to attend competitions with HB (formerly known as Heavenly Bodies). In 2012, he received the opportunity to perform in the famous show “La Vechindad del Chavo.” Upon graduating, he joined the dance company at the Metropolitan University in Rio Piedras while studying for a degree in Public Relations. After moving to West Virginia and furthering his dance training in classical dance, he began teaching contemporary jazz dance classes. In 2014, Delgado Castro moved to North Carolina and joined the Koffee Dance Company performing in “Insomnia” at the Burning Coal Theatre. He has also performed with the Winston Salem Festival Ballet and Tylor Dance. In the spring of 2018, he began teaching at IBC as a guest teacher. Delgado Castro has studied a variety of contemporary techniques rooted in the research of ShaGa and the Gaga Movement Language as well as William Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies under the direction of ShaLeigh Comerford. He has guested with ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2019 and officially joined the company in 2020.
Isabelle Frame (Company Member) Frame originally began her dance studies at Beckley Dance Theatre in West Virginia. She continued her training in Durham, NC with the Durham School for Ballet and the Performing Arts under the direction of Boleyn Willis- Zeger where she starred in countless storybook ballets. Frame also attended summer training programs at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Arizona. She has performed as the corps de ballet with Charlotte Ballet Company and received leading roles with the Charlotte Ballet Academy. She has been invited to work alongside choreographer Tracey Durbin at the ADF Samuel Scripps Studios on various projects and as a guest artist in the Wake Forest Dance Festival in the cast of Danzon, choreographed by Pedro Ruiz. She also has studied and performed a variety of contemporary repertory rooted in the research of Shaga and the Gaga Movement Language as well as William Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies under the direction of ShaLeigh Comerford. Frame has guested with ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2015 and officially joined the company in 2018.
Hannah Nicole Marr (Company Member) Marr is originally from Raleigh, NC. She graduated in 2017 from the University of North Carolina School of The Arts, where she also attended high school. She teaches around the area, is an Administrator at Stage Door Dance, and Director of the dance program at Voyager Academy. Marr has been honored to perform works by Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Wayne McGregor, Juel D. Lane, Ming- Lung Yang, Netta Yerushalmy, Kira Blazek, and many others. Marr has a deep passion for choreography and the investigation of connections between emotion and movement. She has been a company member with ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2017.
Steven James Rodriguez Velez (Company Member) Rodriguez Velez was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. After becoming a black belt in Khatas at the age of 13, Rodriguez Velez discovered his passion for movement and transitioned to dance shortly after. He moved to San Juan in 2004 where he was accepted to the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras to study dance and theater. Rodriguez Velez discovered his passion for contemporary dance while working under Petra Bravo, a professor at the university and founder of the company HINCAPIE. He joined HINCAPIE and danced in the festival, Fiestas Coreograficas, in pieces by Petra Bravo, Norberto Collazo, Viveca Vazquez, as well as his own work. In 2009, Rodriguez Velez joined the company ANDANZA, which allowed him to dance the repertory of choreographers from Puerto Rico, Spain, Brasil, and Canada. In addition to being a company member, he was a teacher in the school of Andanza and several other establishments until 2015, when he moved to North Carolina and started working with the Black Irish Company. In 2016 Rodriguez Velez joined Blackbox Dance Theater, directed by Michelle Pearson; and joined OM Grown Dancers from 2017 to 2019. In addition to dancing, Rodriguez Velez teaches all over the triangle and state. He has been a member of ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2018.
For more information, please visit www.shaleighdanceworks.com
Caitlyn Swett is a dance-maker from Black Mountain, NC. She holds a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. While in Charlotte she co-founded Triptych Collective, danced for independent choreographers, and co-produced interdisciplinary events in non-traditional performance spaces. Since 2016, Caitlyn has worked with Paideia, a group of noise musicians, sound makers, movers, and healing practitioners. Paideia’s improvisational site-based works are driven by looping sounds and movements. In 2018, Caitlyn began making music in a band called Streak of Tigers. She cites past and present members of Paideia as a source of her sonic curiosity. Caitlyn currently lives, works, and creates in Durham, NC. She is most interested in the dances that are happening all of the time.
Photo credit: Jon Pfundstein
Myra Weise is the founder and director of Proxemic Media, an arts production company. Whether live performance, short film installation or public art, each production seeks to thoughtfully engage with the subject matter as well as the community in which the work is created and presented. Through this outlet, Weise harnesses more than a dozen years’ experience working in arts management worldwide in modern dance, music and visual art. Past work includes positions and projects with the American Dance Festival, Black on Black Project, Duke University’s Theater Operations, Empower Dance Foundation, KT Collective, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Pilobolus Inc, Renay Aumiller Dances, Shana Tucker, Semmel Concerts (Germany) and ShaLeigh Dance Works among others.
Photo credit: Zoe Litaker
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